Italian leaves team one year early after missing out on selection for Giro d'Italia

Italian sprinter Elia Viviani has become the fifth rider to announce that he will leave Team Sky at the end of the season, making the move to Quick-Step Floors for 2018.

Viviani will depart after three seasons at Sky which yielded 14 stage wins, moving to the Belgian squad on the same day that it was announced that Marcel Kittel would be leaving Quick-Step for Katusha-Alpecin next year.

“Quick-Step Floors is the best choice I could make,” Viviani said about his move. “When [team boss] Patrick Lefevere came with this offer, I just couldn’t say no to one of the biggest teams in the world. I am honoured to join a squad with such a fantastic pedigree.

“I also want to thank Team Sky for the three years spent together and the great memories, but now the time has come to take on a new challenge.

“This is the right step in my career, because I’m confident it can help me progress. I am 28 now and I really want to find out next season what I can do in an outfit which gives me opportunities.”

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Viviani signed for Team Sky from Cannondale in 2015, riding the Giro d’Italia in 2015 and 2016 as part of the British team. However he was reportedly unhappy about not being selected for his home Grand Tour in 2017, and will now depart despite having one year left on his contract.

This latest transfer news means that Team Sky have now seen five riders depart since the transfer window opened on August 1, but have yet to announce any new signings.

However that will be of little concern to Quick-Step Floors team boss Patrick Lefevere, who seemed very pleased with his latest signing.

“We have followed Elia’s career for a long time and now we are happy to welcome him to the team,” he said.

“He is a proven winner, a rider who has an impressive palmarès and an equally impressive set of skills, and I’m convinced he will fit perfectly in our team with his mentality and winning attitude.”